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Commenting on a story yesterday about nonfood retailers getting into the food business, I noted that Walmart started the trend...which led one MNB user to write:

Not exactly Kevin….Wal-Mart may have been the first general merchandise retailer to begin selling groceries, but Meijer was the first to open the “Supercenter”, adding general merchandise to their grocery line, some 26 years before Wal-Mart.

Meijer Thrifty Acres was the first so called “Supercenter”.  It opened in 1962 in Grand Rapids, MI.  They don’t use the name Thrifty Acres anymore, but you can see its influence in many of their hard-line and soft-line items.  For instance, you can buy many different MTA sporting good products, where MTA stands for Meijer Thrifty Acres.

Wal-Mart opened their first supercenter in 1988, located in Washington, Missouri.

In my opinion, having shopped at one and worked at the other, until about 10-years ago there was no comparison between the two companies;  Meijer stood for low prices and offered excellence in customer service and quality goods.  Wal-Mart stood for low prices only, with quality being questionable at best and service only slightly better than quality.  Now, Wal-Mart has done a tremendous amount of work to improve quality and maintain low prices, while Meijer struggled in the late 90’s to manage their P&L and continue to offer their expected level of service and quality.  In the 2000’s they have worked hard to regain and improve upon what was given up in the late 90’s.

I didn’t mean to minimize Meijer’s contribution to format development. I was just talking about nonfood companies getting into the food biz to build traffic and sales ... Meijer came at it from the other direction, adding GM to its food selection.

On the same subject, MNB user Bob Vereen wrote:

For decades, supermarkets used non-foods as traffic-builders and seasonal specials, selling many of the kinds of items hardware stores sold.

Now non-food retailers are using food.

All things are different and the same.

On another subject, MNB user Chris O’Brien wrote:

I gotta say I’m disappointed to hear that you’re a Lebowski skeptic - not because I feel a need to defend the movie (I think cult has spoken on that one), but because I think that a writer like yourself could really come to appreciate the subtlety of the script. If you do ever want to give the film another shot—here are two suggestions from a fellow writer and Lebowski fanatic…

Don’t focus on the plot. The Lebowski gets better with repeated viewings because once you stop thinking about what’s going on and why, then you begin to enjoy the nuances of the characters and dialogue.

Do focus on Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He plays a relatively small role, but his character pulls everything together in a brilliant and hilarious way. The scene midway through the movie in the limo where he finally starts calling Bridges “Dude” is priceless.

Well, at least this is better than the emails I received from folks suggesting that what I really need to do was get stoned and then watch it.

I think it may be a little late for that particular option...
KC's View: